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Named and Shamed: Energy suppliers with appalling customer service

Patrick Christys
Mar 18, 2019

Are you fed up with appallingly bad customer service from your energy supplier?

Citizens Advice has just named and shamed the energy companies with terrible customer service records and it's calling for new rules to compel firms to treat their customers with the respect they deserve.

The charity’s latest energy league table shows five new or smaller energy suppliers – Outfox The Market, Eversmart Energy, PFP Energy, Pure Planet and iSupply – all achieved an overall score of less than two out of five.

This proves things are getting worse, as in the previous quarter just one company recorded less than two stars.

Now Citizens Advice is calling on Ofgem, the energy regulator, to toughen up on these unscrupulous firms and fight for the customer.

It thinks new firms shouldn't be allowed to operate unless they can prove they're up to the task when it comes to customer service, and existing companies should face a crack down.

The companies who've copped a lot of criticism for their customer service shortcomings are Outfox The Market, which has been increasing direct debits without explanation and leaving customers unable to contact it, Eversmart, which made unexpected changes to tariffs and direct debits, and PFP, which increased direct debits and issued large unexpected bills.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “We have seen too many companies who were completely unprepared to offer acceptable levels of service. A number of these have gone out of business in recent months, leaving customers worried, anxious and in some cases temporarily out of pocket.

“The regulator needs to take urgent action by tightening rules around supplier licences, monitoring existing firms more closely, and enforcing standards where these aren’t met.”

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of industry body Energy UK, said: “With 11 suppliers having exited the market since the start of last year – many of whom struggled with their customer service as well as financially – we agree that Ofgem needs to toughen the requirements for new and existing suppliers.

“Increasing trust and confidence in the market means ensuring suppliers are not only financially equipped to compete on price in a difficult climate but can also deliver the quality of service that all customers, including ones in vulnerable circumstances, are entitled to.”

Chris Thewlis from nPower said: “While there’s still more for us to do to improve our overall position in the Citizen’s Advice survey, we’re encouraged to see improvements year-on-year in various external benchmarks such as the recent uSwitch and Which? surveys.”

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